The finale of “Death Valley” centers primarily on the end of humanity as we’ve known it and the beginning of a new race of alien-human hybrids 60 years in the making. As the credits rolled on this episode, and this season as a whole, I blinked hard and looked around the room, wondering if I’d nodded off and missed something. I even dragged the episode back a few minutes to make sure I’d seen everything correctly. I had spent the whole episode waiting for something more, and that something never came. We went from Harry Gardner (Finn Wittrock) sucking down blood smoothies in part one of Double Feature to Kendall Carr (Kaia Gerber) pushing out the perfect alien-human hybrid specimen at the end of part two, and, in a way, it’s the perfect metaphor to sum up the viewing experience of the past ten weeks. For all that thirst, for all that wanting, and for all that pushing and pushing in hopes of the perfect end result, we’re left with a little glob of goopy mess staring back at us with its big reflective eyes as if to say, “What, you expected something different?”
Putting a rating on something is difficult because you have to split the difference between the loftiness of your own expectation as a viewer and the quality and entertainment value of what you were actually given. When I finally came to terms with the fact that, yes, this season was in fact over and that, yes, it was only about what we were shown and nothing more, I wanted to rate it a two. Maybe even a zero. I couldn’t get a grip on having spent so many weeks trying to look for deeper meanings and strings to tie together, when I could have, and should have, just sat back and enjoyed what I was given at face value, nothing deeper than fudge and bitchy bloodsuckers and Kaia Gerber saying words and looking beautiful.
The two parts of Double Feature didn’t tie together. None of the theories we collected amounted to a goddamn thing. And now I can be fine with it. Next week, I’m gonna watch this season all over again and enjoy it like I should have from the beginning. I’m gonna lay on the couch, sans notebook, and let this insane trash wash over me. Why? Because I love it. I don’t love AHS in spite of its insanity. I love it because of it. How could I have forgotten?
Leading us by the hand out of this season is Valiant Thor (Cody Fern), who I now know, thanks to a commenter on last week’s recap, is a direct reference to a real-life conspiracy theory that dates back to 1957. In this fictional continuation of that (probably) fictitious conspiracy theory, he’s gotten everything he needs from his associations and manipulations within the White House and is ready to finalize his plan for alien-human hybrids to take over Earth.
Dwight D. Eisenhower (Neal McDonough) is on his deathbed, having learned that the planet is not only being overrun by aliens, but lizard people as well. He uses his last words to basically tell Valiant to go Plath himself. And Mamie (Sarah Paulson) asks for Valiant’s assistance in faking her own death before absconding to Area 51 to live forever. All is well, for a while, as she floats around in her pink nightgown having cupcakes and jello cubes with Calico (Leslie Grossman), but then melancholy sinks in when Mamie realizes that the stories she’s telling are the only stories she’ll ever have to tell. There aren’t a lot of new memories to be made in Area 51, and any juicy ones that come along are usually quickly followed by a knife to the throat or an alien baby tentacle to the face.
With Eisenhower out of the office, Nixon (Craig Sheffer) gets put behind the podium to “play ball” with the aliens, but when he balks at their plans and then refuses to resign, he’s abducted and anally probed until he falls back into line. Everyone in the White House is coming to the realization that all the sacrifices they made for alien technology weren’t worth the trouble. Especially when Vietnam was put on the table by Valiant as a distraction so that Americans wouldn’t pay attention to just how many people were going missing each year.
The baby-making factory at Area 51 is in high gear, with or without the cooperation of the abducted birthing vessels inside or the public at large. The gays, Nico and Troy, are dead, killed by their own tentacle baby, and Kendall births a specimen so perfect that they cut off her head and preserve her body as a non-stop birthing tube so that she can make more. Upward of one an hour. Which is a concept that gives me cramps just thinking about it.
Mamie attempts to convince Calico and Theta (Angelica Ross) to let her kill the perfect alien-human baby specimen but doesn’t get very far in her plan. Theta delivers a strong monologue about how humans are filth and it’s time to let someone else have a shot at a better version of Earth, and then she explodes Mamie’s head. And that’s … it.
You may be asking yourself, “What then?” Which is a perfectly normal thing to want to ask right about now. Well, what nothing. That’s the answer. Vampires. And aliens. Plain as day. And now we can sit for a year and wonder what’s gonna happen in season 11. I honestly can’t wait. Maybe it’ll be about talking buttholes.
Deep Throats and Even Deeper Thoughts
• It was honestly funny how, in the very last episode, they brought lizard people into the mix. I’m imagining one writer on staff, probably the nephew or niece of a higher-up, who was like, “Remember, you promised that my lizard thing would make it in,” and then they had to go ahead and do it. Or maybe one of the prop people was like, “You made me drive all the way to Long Beach to buy these yellow vertical pupil contacts, and now we’re damn well gonna use them.”
• Best bit of dialogue from the whole season, hands down, was Mamie and Calico’s exchange in this episode:
Mamie: “Tell me, do you like fudge?”
Calico: “More than life itself.”
If I’m ever in a place in life where I can legitimately have a Make-a-Wish Foundation scenario, I’d like to reenact that bit of dialogue with Sarah Paulson. Maybe it will be just far enough into the future that alien technology will allow for a clip of it to play from my gravestone in a continuous loop.
• Mamie as Deep Throat? It’s almost like what can’t she do?